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BK-0010.01: The most well-known home/school computer from the USSR

Eugene Bolshakoff

Home computing history in the Soviet Union was different than in the West.

In the West, there were many well-known home computers, people could buy them in a store, there were many programs, games and so on. They were very rare in Soviet Union, only people who could go abroad brought them.

Some technologies were forbidden for official export to the USSR (and other Communist countries) because of CoCom Embargo (for example, Motorola 68k CPUs were used somewhere in U.S. military technologies and was considered as a multilateral technology). When Afghan war started in 1979, U.S. forbade local companies selling any technologies to the USSR.

But in the whole world, personal computers became more popular at that time. First Soviet personal computers appeared in early 1980s, but they were professional computers made for institutions. DVK (Диалоговый вычислительный комплекс, Dialog Computing Complex) was one of the first Soviet personal computers, it was introduced in 1981. It was based on Soviet LSI-11 clone (PDP-11 compatible CPU).

Before BK-0010 (one of the first home Soviet computers) was introduced, people tried to make their own computers at home - they ordered microchips (it was not easy!), made circuit boards at home…

I speak only English and Russian, sorry.
All demonstrations will be in English. In case you speak only German, we can try to use WT2 translation device or Google Translate on-site.
All printed information will be in English too.

General Data

And, BK-0010 (БК, Бытовой Компьютер - Household computer) was introduced as a school and home computer in 1985. It was a "younger sister" of DVK, it was also based on LSI-11 clone, but it was designed as a home computer.

Developer Research and Production Association "Nauchny Center" (Scientific Center), Zelenograd, USSR
Manufacturer "Eksiton" factory, Pavlovsky Posad, USSR; "Elekon" Radio component factory, Kazan, USSR; "Nuklon" factory, Siauliai, Lithuanian SSR
Model Name BK-0010
Year of Introduction 1985
Country USSR
Price at the time of introduction 650 Soviet Roubles (~3 - 3.5 engineer's month salaries)

Technical Data

Architecture LSI-11, 16-bit - PDP-11 compatible
CPU К1801ВМ1, 3 MHz
RAM 32 Kb
ROM 32 Kb
Graphics RGB component connector to a household TV, 512x256 (2 colours, 64 symbols per line) or 256x256 (4 colours, 32 symbols per line)
Sound Internal beeper
Storage Audio tape, using a household audio tape recorder, 800K floppy disks later


I will show BK-0010-01, the next version of BK-0010. BK-0010-01 has a real keyboard (instead of membrane keyboard in BK-0010) and BASIC in ROM instead of FOCAL.

As a home computer (among many other 8-bit home computers), BK-0010 and its successors (BK-0010-01 and BK-0011M) used a household TV as a monitor and a household tape recorder (which was designed for listening to music) to load and save programs. Programs were stored and distributed on audio tapes.

There was almost no official software for BK-0010-01. People usually created games and application software at home (or, who had access to DVK and/or other computers - at their work) and distributed it by post for free or for donations (software was not considered as an intellectual property in the USSR until late 1980s or even 1990).

When BK-0011M was released, it already had a controller to connect a floppy drive, and OS RT-11 (which was also used on DVK) was ported to it (with the name BK-11). It was possible to use some software developed for RT-11.

With a floppy controller, a couple of other (unofficial, "self-made") operating systems were developed (ANDOS, MKDOS and other) and made BK-0011M usage easier - people didn't need to load programs from tapes. That controller was modified by enthusiasts to work on BK-0010(-01) too.

When Soviet Union was demolished, IBM PC-compatible computers appeared in former SU countries, but they were very expensive. BK was still in use until 1999 (or even longer). A company named AltPro developed a hard drive controller for BK in 1997, it was possible to use hard drives.

In addition to home use, this computer was also used at schools. Using a special controller and ROM, computers were connected to a "network" (actually, it allows to load/save programs and games from teacher computer's tape or floppy drive). School setup was called "set of educational computer equipment" (комплект учебной вычислительной техники, КУВТ, KUVT).

DVK or BK-0011M could be used as a teacher computer with floppy drive, and BK-0010-01 as students' computers.
In 1987, UKNC (учебный компьютер научного центра, Educational computer of Scientific Center) was released for school use, it was also based on PDP-11-compatible CPU and used OS RT-11 clone.

Interest in BK-0010/0011 does not fade away even now. There is a big community in Russia and CIS countries, people develop new games, demos and even hardware controllers.
For example, SMK-512 was developed by Nazim Musaev as a "successor" of AltPro controller in 2010-2012 (it's based on FPGA and has 512K RAM, FDD, HDD and CF controllers).

bk-0010.txt · Zuletzt geändert: 2021/09/28 13:11 von zeltophil